Friday, July 4, 2014

Raja Rasalu: Raja Bhoj (end)

This story is part of the Raja Rasalu unit. Story source: The Adventures of the Punjab Hero Raja Rasalu by Charles Swynnerton (1884).

Raja Rasalu and Raja Bhoj (end)

"Bravo!" cried the wazir, applauding vehemently. "Excellently good, Sir, and right nobly expressed!"

Suddenly the silence was broken by the deep voice of Raja Rasalu, who, with his friend Bhoj, had not been so soundly asleep but that he had overheard every word of this pretty interlude, and who now mischievously interrupted the conversation with these sarcastic words:

'In lonely woods I walk, Raja,
I walk, a poor recluse;
However wise your talk, Raja,
Your friend's a learned goose."

"Who is that ?" cried Raja Hom with sudden anger. "What means this intrusion on our privacy? Ho, catch the fellow, and bring him here!"

One of the attendants approached Rasalu, and said with some insolence, "Get up, Sir; how dare you interfere with our Raja's talk?"

"If you value your life," answered Rasalu, "return to your master at once."

"Why?" said the man. "Who are you, and whence come you?"

"I am Rasalu, the son of Sulwan," replied he, "and my home is the blessed Sialkot. If you are not a stranger to courtesy and to the customs of kings, and if you will request me civilly to visit your Raja, I may possibly go to him. But I never yield to compulsion."

The servant was astonished, and, returning to his master, he reported to him all his adventure.

"Go to him again," said Raja Hom, "and entreat him courteously to come to me. I wish to speak with him."

Then went the attendant back to Rasalu and delivered his message, saying, "Sir, Raja Hom of Delhi sends you his compliments, and would speak to you."

So Rasalu arose, and, approaching the tent, he saluted the king of Delhi with grave politeness.

"Are you really Rasalu?" enquired the latter. "Why did not my verses commend themselves to you?"

"However well expressed," answered Rasalu, "the sentiment was scarcely true. So I ventured to in- terrupt you."

"I may of course be wrong," said Hom, "but if so, doubtless you will correct me."

"Willingly," replied Rasalu; "the idea in my judgment should be rather this —

"No water like the limpid stream
That ripples idly by;
No light so glorious as the beam
That sparkles from the eye;
Of all the sleep that mortals know,
The sleep of health's the best;
Of all the fruit the gods bestow,
A son exceeds the rest."

"How is that?" said Raja Hom. "Let me hear your explanation."

"When you were born into the world," answered Rasalu, "who gave you Ganges water then? And when, a thirsty fugitive, you fled away before your foes, what good was Ganges water to you then? If you had not eyes, you might look for the moonlight in vain; if health forsook you, sleep would forsake you too; and, if you were to die fruitless, you would die a barren stock, with never a son to succeed or to perpetuate you."

Having heard this answer, Raja Hom, admiring Rasalu's wisdom, praised him greatly and said to him, "Sir, you are undoubtedly right, and I was wrong."

The next morning Raja Rasalu embraced his friend Raja Bhoj and bade him adieu, after which he continued his journey alone, ever seeking for fresh adventures.








(600 words)

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